12. House Buying Fees and Taxes in France
12.4. How to Reduce Charges
There are a three methods that can be used to keep down your transaction costs.
i. Sharing Charges
By convention, the transaction charges (frais de notaire) are payable by the buyer, but there is no reason why you cannot agree that they should be shared, or even paid by the seller!
It all depends on the strength of your negotiating position.
The easiest way of achieving this objective might simply be by a reduction in the purchase price.
ii. Estate Agents Commission
It is not unusual for the buyer to be responsible for the commission payable to the estate agent, although practice does vary. Increasingly, it is now the seller who pays their charges.
If the buyer is to be responsible for the commission then the sale advert must clearly state that this is the case.
It should then follow that the commission should be separated out in the sale agreement so that they are not added to the total sale price on which the level of the notaire fees are based.
Estate agents commission can substantially lift the total fees that are payable so ask questions about them at the outset.
We consider the law and practice concerning estate agents fees in our Guide to Estate Agents in France, which we recommend you read.
If you are buying furniture or other effects with the property make sure these items are separated out from the sale price of the property as no stamp duty taxes are payable on them.
Any furniture or effects you are buying will need to be listed on the sale agreement and a value attributed to each item.
The savings that arise are unlikely to be substantial, but will be improved if you can persuade the notaire not to charge any of their own fees on the sale of the furniture!
Neither should you seek to take it too far; if the tax office consider the value of the furniture to be excessive they may in rare circumstances ask a few questions.
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